Overdose pilot program meant to help find treatment

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — All eyes are on Wilmington as the city kicks off a new pilot program for the state. It focuses on the opioid crisis and it encourages users to get treatment.

“Treatment is the answer. It’s the number one answer,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

It’s a partnership to help people who overdose on opiates find treatments.

“A partnership between your first responder systems like police and EMS and community paramedics. And the treatment systems in the community,” Coastal Horizon clinical director Kenny House said.

Wilmington received $500,000 in state funds to build these teams to provide peer-support specialists, licensed behavior specialists and a part-time medical director or psychiatrist.

“We just hope to use a team of folks that can get out there and talk to these folks and have been through this process before. They can convince somebody to get in treatment as opposed to not taking treatment and of course being back out on the street, doing the exact same thing and perpetuating the problem,” Saffo said.

If someone is revived with Narcan after an overdose and then refuses treatment, these teams will reach back out to them.

“Within a couple of days, with a group of healthcare providers, with our EMT people, with different folks that can get them into treatment and making certain that the treatment is available and where to take them,” Saffo said.

Organizations like Coastal Horizons want to get involved to ease concerns.

“Sometimes people need the encouragement to overcome those perceived and real barriers so that they’ll take the step to get into treatment,” House said.

There is a not a specific group selected for this program and there is a bid process. Once complete, they hope to start on July 1.

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